Iran's new president has called for a foreign policy free of damaging sloganeering.

Hassan Rouhani was quoted as making the remarks during the inauguration of Mohammad Javad Zarif, a US-educated veteran diplomat, as foreign minister on Saturday.

"Foreign policy is not carried out by repeating slogans," ISNA news agency quoted him as saying.

Rouhani said that his countrymen elected him to change the country's foreign policy and shift away from the bombastic style adopted under his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad used to call UN Security Council resolutions "worthless papers" and "annoying flies, like a used tissue".

He also used to call for US leaders to be buried in response to American threats of military attack against Iran's nuclear programme.

Rouhani has pledged to follow a policy of moderation and ease tensions with the outside world.

"That doesn't mean abandoning our principles but it does mean a change of method, we have no right to use foreign policy to win plaudits, it's a very sensitive field and it's the key to solving our current problems," he said.

Acoording to ISNA, Rouhani is ready to hold "serious" talks with the major powers without delay to allay Western concerns about Iran's nuclear programme.

He has also pledged to improve an economy ravaged by international sanctions and mismanagement by empowering technocrats.

Western governments suspect that the programme is cover for a drive for a nuclear weapons capability, despite Iran's repeated denials.

Source: Agencies